Sunday, February 10, 2013

Valentine's Day Crafts

Valentine's Day is just around the corner and I have been preparing a party for my 3 year old son and all his friends. My computer is down so I don't have access to all my step by step pictures, just pictures from my phone of the finished product. Hopefully my computer is up and running soon so I can post the good stuff :)

This is my sons crocodile Valentine's box. Please excuse the dishes in the background. Making this crocodile box was way more enjoyable then dealing with dirty dishes.

This is the craft I'm going to give the kids to do at the party. I bought some pre-cut heart shaped card stock, and pink sparkly yarn, both found at Michael's. I hole punched around the edges, tied the yarn to the heart, and started threading. Of course, this is just an example I came up with. The kids can thread their yarn however they please. I also wrapped a little tape around the end of the yarn to make it a little easier for the kids to thread.

These are heart flowers I made for decoration at the part. The foam heart are from the dollar store, and everything else I had (coffee can filled with rice, foam letters, and skewers)

More Valentine's Day crafts etc. Coming soon...

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Plastic Canvas Christmas Ornament

My 2 year old (almost 2 and a half) has been trying to help me sew. He keeps crawling up into my lap while I am using the sewing machine. The only way to get any of my work done was to provide him with a task. As I was thinking back to what my Mom might have done when I was little I remembered plastic canvas. It comes in many colors and sizes and can be found in most craft or sewing stores near the yarn. The fabric store I went to had pre cut out shapes with a clean edge. However if you want to make more than one it is a lot cheaper to buy a sheet.

Plastic Canvas $0.59
Green Yarn (7 foot) $2.99
Brown Yarn (3 foot)
Plastic Needle $1.99 ( I bought children's needles in the needle section. They do sell plastic canvas needles next to the plastic canvas but I thought the one I picked looked nicer. It came in a 2 pack and was the most expensive option.)
Note: While this needle is not sharp it is still firm and pointy and you could still stab yourself in the eye. Don't pull the needle through the canvas toward your face. Don't let your kid stab their eye!

 Cut out your tree. Mine is about 6" tall and 4" wide. It is not symmetrical because I am lazy and didn't bother to measure. But I figure it's OK because real trees are rarely symmetrical anyway. Save canvas by alternating which end is up when cutting out multiple trees.
 I like to trim off any bumps on the canvas before I start. Do this on the bottom strait side only. I'll show you later how to handle the angled sides while sewing. I have about 7 foot length of green yarn.
 I like to start to the left of the trunk leaving about 3/4" yarn and looking the yarn around it. This way you don't have to tie a knot. You can tie a knot if you want but then there will be a bump. When you reach the corner do two stitches in the same hole. One wrapped to the bottom and another wrapped to the side. It just gives it a cleaner look.
 When you reach a hole in the canvas that is partially cut just skip it and sew one square farther into the tree. This will give your tree a nice tapered look.
 At the top leave a loop before continuing down the other side. This will be to hang your ornament. Don't worry if you forget you can just tie a loop on later. I like to do three stiches in the top hole.
 Now that you have reached the trunk just continue strait across to where you started. No need to cut the yarn when you are done.
 Not if your child is like my 2 year old they have been eagerly waiting for their turn to play with the needle. I think it helps if they watch you do the border instead of preparing it while they are napping.
 I held the tree and told his to pick a hole to push the needle through. I made sure to have him push the needle away from his face. We are a family who would like to keep our eyes. :) After pulling all the yarn through I would turn the tree over and repeat from the other side. That way the yarn doesn't wrap around the outside.
 The far left tree is the finished product. With some brown yarn I filled in the trunk after my son was done sewing.

1. An older child could fill in the entire tree just like the trunk.
2. I bought red yarn with the intention of using it for garland or ornaments. I wasn't sure how to make that look good so I skipped it.
3. Add small bells or pony beads for ornaments while stringing the yarn all over the tree.

It's a great way to introduce a young child to sewing.

Guest author,
Jessica Baker

Sunday, December 16, 2012

DIY Christmas Wreath

I've always wanted an extravagant Christmas wreath on display for the holidays. Well turns out the extravagant ones aren't cheap, and if it's real- forget about it. I chose the next best thing and made my own for only $10.00 with the exception of a gold bow I already owned. Micheal's pretty regularly has sales on all of their holiday products. I scored a medium sized wreath, and enough goodies to spiff up my wreath, all for half off. The different variations to decorate your wreath are endless with the amount of supplies Michael had to offer. I think that was the hardest part of this project was trying to choose all the little decorations. I must have been in that isle for about an hour. Ultimately I chose a traditional theme, and added simple things I liked that reminded me of Christmas. This project was super, super easy. I literally just fluffed my branches, organized my decorations how I wanted display them on my wreath then attached each item one by one. Some of them had wires that were easy to twist around branches, and some were hard plastic that required a little tweaking into the framework to make them stay. The great thing about this project is that nothing is permanent. If you decide you don't like something you can always take it out, or change your theme next year.  Happy holidays!

 I ended up taking out the silver holly and replacing it with some more pine cones. I thought the silver kind of stuck out like a sore thumb.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Kipper Picnic Birthday Party

My son's 3rd birthday party was last October. I let him pick his party theme, and he chose Kipper the dog. Kipper is a wholesome British cartoon about the many adventures of Kipper, and his friends. We just love the cartoon but there are no Kipper party supplies available in the US- that I could find. Even the UK only has a hand full of pricey Kipper party supplies. So I sought out Kipper parties on the web. I came across two blogs with Kipper parties. One was for a girl, and the other had really cute decor but nothing to do with Kipper except for one picture of Kipper. Needless to say I was on my own with this one,  and starting from scratch. If our children only knew what we do for them. Staying up until 2 a.m. making Kipper puppets, pinwheels, and trying to get the printer to work the way we want it to:) And I will gladly do it every year until he's to old for birthday parties. That will be a sad day for me. Just to see the joy and excitement on my son's face melts my heart and makes the whole party planning fiasco worth it. The funny thing is that it's only a couple months after his party and we haven't watched Kipper since. Wouldn't you know it :)

To limit the party from going in to many different directions I chose our favorite Kipper DVD ( Pools, Parks, and Picnics) and just pulled ideas from that. The added picnic theme worked to my advantage because my house is way to small to comfortably host a party for 20 people. We live in Washington so we were extremely lucky the weather held out until October. In fact it was a beautiful sunny day, perfect for a picnic.

For the party decorations I used a blue checkered picnic pattern with ants, as well as a green one. I printed the pattern on card stock and made invitations, two banners, pinwheels, and a golf flag with the number three on it. I also made two blue and green balloon columns, and Kipper hand puppets.

For the food I picked out things that I would take on a picnic while also keeping the toddlers in mind. I ordered croissant  sandwiches from Costco, I had plastic shot glasses filled with ranch dip and veggies,  a lot of strawberries, a variety of flavored chips, and party popcorn. For drinks I kept it simple ( water, Capri sun, and lemonade).

This was the first year so far that I didn't make a birthday cake. I made cupcakes with ants carrying watermelons, and apple pies instead. I thought it went better with the theme. Although I was a little disappointed with how my cupcakes turned out the kids never seem to mind. Luckily I didn't get any close up shots of those ;)

I had games/activities for the kids that were all relevant to the Kipper Pools Parks and Picnics DVD. As the kids arrived they each got to pick a folded paper party hat to decorate and wear. I provided foam stickers, feathers, jewels, string, tape and glue dots. The first game we had to catch butterflies from a tree. I found butterfly coasters on clearance that were white and silver. I colored everyone in different patterns of colors, tied string to the branches on and scotch taped the butterflies on the end of the string. The person with the most butterflies got a prize as well as the person with the purple butterfly because that was the color of the butterfly Kipper catches. I would suggest giving the younger kids a head start if you have mixed ages. I didn't and the winner was the oldest with eleven butterflies, and most of the toddlers ended up with only one. For the second game everyone got to play par 3 putt putt golf. Everyone hit the ball until they got it in the hole then got a prize. We got the putting green with the hole and ball return at the Goodwill for a few bucks, and used the putter and balls from my sons plastic golf set. Last but not least we did a treasure hunt. I made all the clues to look like treasure maps and hid them accordingly. I even lucked out with a couple of the same hiding spots as the DVD. The clues led them to a DIY cardboard treasure chest where they found their loot bags. This game was a favorite with the kids.

I hope this is inspirational to all those parents planning a party for their little Kipper fan. Have fun.


I did a post card style invitation, mostly because my printer wasn't printing the way I wanted it to. I also had my son participate in stuffing the envelopes.  We added some bug foam stickers for the kids that were purchased from the Dollar Tree. A big thanks to my friend Katherine for putting all the images together for me so all I had to do was print :)
Patterns and Images

 I printed these patterns out on card stock to make my banners, pin wheels, a golf flag.  

I used this image to put on my mini brown paper bags full of party popcorn.

This image of Kipper was used for one of the banners and the loot bags.

Loot Bags 

The kids really liked their names in the big sparkly letters.

Balloon Columns

These were relativity easy to make. I used my husbands concrete tampers as my base, and structure. Here is a great You Tube video to learn how.

DIY Kipper Puppets

I made these Kipper hand puppets with brown paper bags and construction paper. I got the idea from a web site but a template wasn't provided so everything was done freehand. Although these are hand puppets I used them as decoration to top off my balloon columns.

These are not the actual cupcakes I made, but where the inspiration came from. I didn't get a close up shot of mine, and they weren't as nice as these ones. I used dark chocolate covered raisins on mine because the almonds were big enough to become a choking hazard for the tots. I had problems with the watermelons falling off, coloring the frosting for the legs, and applying it. 

Games and Activities

Decorate your own party hat activity.
Catch the butterflies game.

Treasure hunt.
The loot.



I was going to use these images to make picket signs to put at each game and activity station but I never got around to it.


Monday, October 29, 2012

No Cut Pumpkin Decorating for Toddlers

Mr. Pumpkin Head! Finally a use for all those Mr. Potato Head pieces that don't get played with. We added a few of our own accessories to transform Mr. Pumpkin Head into a pirate. We even put a skull and cross bones temporary tattoo on his side (not seen in the photo). This is a perfect way to get the littler ones involved in the tradition of carving punkins until they're old enough to help drawl and cut out a Jack-o-lantern of their own. I would suggest puncturing some holes ahead of time for each piece. This way the little ones can feel some sense of independence by putting it together with little help. Happy Halloween boys and Ghouls!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Halloween Candied Popcorn

I made these cute little popcorn snack bags for my toddler's Halloween party. The kids were running around with there little pumpkin bags in hand munching on their popcorn. I'm personally not a huge popcorn fan, but I just love snacking on these. And as usual they are cheap and easy to make (pop, melt, mix, sprinkle).
-Halloween sprinkles (I used the black and orange balls, but any sprinkle will do)
-6 oz candy melts or half a bag (I used white candy melts but you can use green or purple if you want to get funky with it)
-3 personal sized popcorn bags (I used the all natural pop secret kind)

Step 1:
Pop your three bags of popcorn and put them in a bowl.

Step 2:
Melt your candy melts in the microwave in 30 second intervals- siring after each one.

Step 3:
Poor the melted candy on top of the popcorn in the bowl. Then roll your sleeves up and mix it up with your hands.

Step 4:
Once you feel like you got a pretty good coat dump it all onto a baking sheet. Spread it out evenly then start sprinkling. Add as many or as little sprinkles as you want. Let set for about 10 minutes then they're ready to eat...or store in cute little pumpkin bags:)

-Don't overcook the candy because it will start hardening again.
-Keeps best in a plastic zip-lock bag.
-If you put them in a paper bag and they get to warm the candy will melt and leave what look like grease spot on the bag.
-I also made these for my son's birthday party, but with multicolored sprinkles.

 I found these cute little drawstring pumpkin bags at the dollar store.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Free Jake and the Never Land Pirates Activity Kit

So many of my friends toddlers including my own are now into pirates, and Jake and the Never Land Pirates more specifically. This activity kit is a great way to fuel their imagination while learning with their favorite characters, not to mention it's free. Yo ho mates away....